Florida Basketball: Why Gator Nation Can't Wait for the Season to Begin

Jim FolsomContributorOctober 18, 2010

OKLAHOMA CITY - MARCH 18:  Kenny Boynton #1 of  the Florida Gators pushes the ball up court in overtime against the BYU Cougars during the first round of the 2010 NCAA men�s basketball tournament at Ford Center on March 18, 2010 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

With the total collapse of the Gators football team this year, basketball season has never been so welcome in the Gator Nation. It should be. The Gators should have a team capable of winning the SEC and making a strong NCAA run.

This team, if it can avoid the injury bug that has infested the football program, will have everything. It will have big men who can dominate the paint with Vernon Macklin, Patric Young and Will Yeguete. It will have outside shooting with Kenny Boynton, Erving Walker and Chandler Parsons. It will have senior leadership and talented youth. And something Florida has not had since the days of Noah, Brewer, Horford, and co. A deep bench.

This team can five on five in practice. The starting lineup is exactly the same as last year with Macklin, Alex Tyus, Parsons, Walker and Boynton. These guys will be looking at a team of young studs hungry to make their marks in Young, Yeguete, Erik Murphy (who was really starting to come on at the end of last season), Mike Rosario (who averaged 16 a game in the Big East last year), and Casey Prather, who is being compared to Corey Brewer.

The SEC and national media have picked the Gators to win the SEC.

Preseason Media Poll

(First-Place Votes in Parentheses)

SEC Champion: Florida (8); Mississippi State (3); Kentucky (2); Tennessee (2); Georgia (1)


Eastern Division                Points

Florida (13)                           110

Kentucky (3)                           95

Georgia (2)                             72

Tennessee (2)                       71

Vanderbilt                               52

South Carolina                       20


Western Division              Points

Mississippi State (18)        118

Ole Miss (2)                          84

Alabama                               82

Arkansas                               72

LSU                                        41

Auburn                                   23


Now I know pre-season predictions mean nothing, but at least it shows that the Gators will have some talent on the floor this year. Last year these same people picked Kentucky to run away with it, and that is what happened. So it's a good start.

Give a National Champion winning coach some talent and a deep bench, and you have the ingredients for something special. After this disaster of a football season, Gator Nation needs something special.